Rwanda: We Cannot Allow COVID-19 to Do Double Damage - Kagame

President Paul Kagame.

President Paul Kagame has said that the world cannot accept the new coronavirus pandemic to cause double damage, calling on leaders from different sectors to support efforts aimed at developing needed vaccines.

Leaders of governments, business and the private sector met virtually to raise funds aimed at accelerating the work of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) to support the development of vaccines for Covid-19 and other diseases.

Kagame told leaders at the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit that it was critical that leaders do everything possible to stop the pandemic from causing double damage to the people.

"We cannot allow Covid-19 to do double damage by slowing our response to the preventable diseases that cost countless lives each year," he said in a video conference that convened 35 Heads of State and Government.

The Vaccine Alliance, backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation kicked off its operations in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world's poorest countries.

Kagame said since its creation 20 years ago, Gavi has had a tremendous impact on global health, including in Rwanda.

"In partnership with Gavi, Rwanda has achieved 95 per cent coverage for the most common vaccine preventable diseases. As a result child mortality has continued to fall," he noted.

"Today, Covid-19 put the entire world at risk. A safe and effective vaccine would end the pandemic," Kagame said. "But achieving universal vaccine coverage will require unprecedented innovation in both scientific and manufacturing capacity."

The Vaccine Alliance said Thursday it raised $8.8 billion, which will help the organisation to immunise 300 million more children and save 8 million lives in countries where it works by 2025.

"This is a win-win strategy for all stakeholders, which has already proven for new pneumococcal vaccines, saving hundreds of thousands of lives," Kagame said.

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